Reset actor's stats when died

richter_h

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Maybe this sounds silly and makes the essence of grinding become meaningless, but I just recalled this system that makes the player to keep his/her party to avoid death at all costs. 
 
Here's brief explanation of what I called as "Reset Actor's Stats When Died":

  • When an actor's HP drops to 0, not only he/she will get Incapacitated/Dead state, he/she will also have their level drops to level 1 again; his/her bonus stats gained from earning EXP will be reset as well as his/her EXP and learned skills.
  • This effect will apply if the incapacitated/dead party member isn't treated in-battle; when revived in battle and the battle isn't ended yet, their EXP, stats and skills will remain intact.
  • Equipments aren't changed when this effect occurs, but if the equipments require the actor to be in certain level or higher, they'll be unequipped automatically.
These rules will be applied to individuals, but I think it'll be a bit better if the rules applied when all of the party members are incapacitated/dead.

This sounds hardcore for some fellas. Any thoughts?
 

nio kasgami

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Maybe this sounds silly and makes the essence of grinding become meaningless, but I just recalled this system that makes the player to keep his/her party to avoid death at all costs. 

Here's brief explanation of what I called as "Reset Actor's Stats When Died":

  • When an actor's HP drops to 0, not only he/she will get Incapacitated/Dead state, he/she will also have their level drops to level 1 again; his/her bonus stats gained from earning EXP will be reset as well as his/her EXP and learned skills.
  • This effect will apply if the incapacitated/dead party member isn't treated in-battle; when revived in battle and the battle isn't ended yet, their EXP, stats and skills will remain intact.
  • Equipments aren't changed when this effect occurs, but if the equipments require the actor to be in certain level or higher, they'll be unequipped automatically.
These rules will be applied to individuals, but I think it'll be a bit better if the rules applied when all of the party members are incapacitated/dead.

This sounds hardcore for some fellas. Any thoughts?
can I say you are damn a sadistic xD? how to make ragequit someone!
 
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Hypothetical example: Your entire party is in (what you assume is) good condition to survive an enemy's attacks. The enemy is very low on HP. But when you cue your party's attacks, said enemy uses an new attack or gets a critical hit and kills one of your party members. No biggie, as long as you revive them before the battle ends, right? Ooops...one of your cued attacks killed the enemy. Poof, there goes all of that character's levels!

In short, a potentially-massive amount of the player's effort can easily disappear in an instant because of sheer bad luck. You might have the "hardcore" crowd who like that sort of thing in roguelikes, but most people would be turned off.
 

richter_h

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This one surely will turn most of the players off the game, I see. Also, talking about roguelike, this feature is more punishing than permadeath itself if I re-read its explanation.

I'll consider this feature for later purposes, then. Maybe I'll go with the secondary stat growth system where the stats may grow exponentially and could be reset when the actor's HP drops to 0.
 

Andar

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This is basically the "deadman" option added to the hardest difficulty of a lot of Action-RPGs - but that in itself tells you that it is an option that only works in a very special type of game.


If you have a game where the focus is on the story - forget it.


If you have a game where the focus is on playing to get a better highscore, then this is an option that is even liked by the hardcore players, especially if combined with the "no reloading saves" to cover mistakes.
 

SinのAria

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Yeah, I'd say that this really would only work in a hardcore type of setting.  Even worse would be if you are already in a difficult area and your party members keep dying as a result.

I'd put an emergency save where if the party member is dead, put a state on the party member that will last x turns or x steps. If the state expires AND the party member is dead, then reset. If the party member is revived, remove the state without reset.
 

richter_h

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This is basically the "deadman" option added to the hardest difficulty of a lot of Action-RPGs - but that in itself tells you that it is an option that only works in a very special type of game.

If you have a game where the focus is on the story - forget it.

If you have a game where the focus is on playing to get a better highscore, then this is an option that is even liked by the hardcore players, especially if combined with the "no reloading saves" to cover mistakes.
I see. So this doesn't work with games that focus on the story. I'll keep this in mind while incubating this feature for later uses.

I don't know if this also counts like the previous one I've mentioned, but how about the partial stat reset (like, the HP and MP aren't changed even after death while the other stats are changed) that can be recovered gradually?

 

Yeah, I'd say that this really would only work in a hardcore type of setting.  Even worse would be if you are already in a difficult area and your party members keep dying as a result.

I'd put an emergency save where if the party member is dead, put a state on the party member that will last x turns or x steps. If the state expires AND the party member is dead, then reset. If the party member is revived, remove the state without reset.
This could be a bit complicated, especially when applying the designated state. 

And yes, the stat reset after died with the tough areas combination is equal to ragequit. I'll note this as well.
 
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I see. So this doesn't work with games that focus on the story. I'll keep this in mind while incubating this feature for later uses.

I don't know if this also counts like the previous one I've mentioned, but how about the partial stat reset (like, the HP and MP aren't changed even after death while the other stats are changed) that can be recovered gradually?
A lot of MMOs (and at least one SRPG) use a system where someone who is knocked out has their stats reduced for a period of time. It could be measured in number of turns or battles for a turn-based RPG.
 

Wavelength

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I actually like this as an alternative to Permadeath, where Permadeath would normally be used.  Completely "re-initialize" the character's level, stats, and skills.

Importantly, such a game needs to be one where the player feels it is their own fault that a character was downed in battle.  If the player feels they "unfairly" had a character killed, they are likely to load a saved file or quit entirely.

One thing you could optionally do to make it less punishing is give the character a huge EXP bonus (something like 400%) until they reach the highest level they ever achieved, so that they can catch back up to relevant power levels quickly if the player plays things right.
 

Kes

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This last post from Wavelength reminded me of what I was going to post earlier before RL piled in.

This is not a one time punishment.  Precisely because the character is back down to level one, he/she is a massive liability for the whole party.  Have 2 characters like that, and facing even moderately tricky enemies, the party could go down, simply because e.g. the HP of one of them is scarcely more than one hit from an enemy.  It could quickly become an inescapable spiral to endless game overs unless the player goes back a good distance to much weaker enemies to get the recently dead back up to enough strength to first survive and then second to make a contribution.  Not fun.

So Wavelength's suggestion has a lot of merit as a way of mitigating what is, imo, a very questionable design decision.
 

bgillisp

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There's only two ways I could see a system like this working:

1: All dungeons have very weak enemies at the beginning, there is no saving in dungeons, and a TPK resets the player to the start of the dungeon (maybe keeping some benefits that changes their lvl 1 stats so they can get back up in power easily). A few rouge-likes do this, where even when you die, you keep some benefit to make future runs easier.

Or...

A low level cap. If a level 1 character is pretty powerful, and the game caps at level 10, then the penalty could be seen as another way to take away bonuses for not dying. Kind of like how right now dying (in most games) removes all states on a character. So maybe a level 1 character has an ATK of 150, and a level 10 character has an ATK of 175. That way you get the small boost (25 points) as a reward for staying alive that long, but going back to 150 is not crippling.

You might have to rework the EXP table with a script (or plug-in if in MV) to make it feasible, as level 1 - 10 goes quickly with that chart. Though you could use a different range of numbers (20 - 30, with death resetting you to lvl 20?).
 

SinのAria

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Essentially, roguelike are where this type of system can work reasonably well.

As stated by bgillisp, a low level cap where levels are more of a bonus than a necessity would work as well.

And wavelength mentioned a very good point. People will quit if they feel the death was unfair.

I would do things a bit differently though.

I would make it so that the character loses 25% of their current level. This means that a death is a heavy penalty, but it doesn't make the death crippling.
 

richter_h

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I actually like this as an alternative to Permadeath, where Permadeath would normally be used.  Completely "re-initialize" the character's level, stats, and skills.

Importantly, such a game needs to be one where the player feels it is their own fault that a character was downed in battle.  If the player feels they "unfairly" had a character killed, they are likely to load a saved file or quit entirely.

One thing you could optionally do to make it less punishing is give the character a huge EXP bonus (something like 400%) until they reach the highest level they ever achieved, so that they can catch back up to relevant power levels quickly if the player plays things right.
This last post from Wavelength reminded me of what I was going to post earlier before RL piled in.

This is not a one time punishment.  Precisely because the character is back down to level one, he/she is a massive liability for the whole party.  Have 2 characters like that, and facing even moderately tricky enemies, the party could go down, simply because e.g. the HP of one of them is scarcely more than one hit from an enemy.  It could quickly become an inescapable spiral to endless game overs unless the player goes back a good distance to much weaker enemies to get the recently dead back up to enough strength to first survive and then second to make a contribution.  Not fun.

So Wavelength's suggestion has a lot of merit as a way of mitigating what is, imo, a very questionable design decision.
There's only two ways I could see a system like this working:

1: All dungeons have very weak enemies at the beginning, there is no saving in dungeons, and a TPK resets the player to the start of the dungeon (maybe keeping some benefits that changes their lvl 1 stats so they can get back up in power easily). A few rouge-likes do this, where even when you die, you keep some benefit to make future runs easier.

Or...

A low level cap. If a level 1 character is pretty powerful, and the game caps at level 10, then the penalty could be seen as another way to take away bonuses for not dying. Kind of like how right now dying (in most games) removes all states on a character. So maybe a level 1 character has an ATK of 150, and a level 10 character has an ATK of 175. That way you get the small boost (25 points) as a reward for staying alive that long, but going back to 150 is not crippling.

You might have to rework the EXP table with a script (or plug-in if in MV) to make it feasible, as level 1 - 10 goes quickly with that chart. Though you could use a different range of numbers (20 - 30, with death resetting you to lvl 20?).
Essentially, roguelike are where this type of system can work reasonably well.

As stated by bgillisp, a low level cap where levels are more of a bonus than a necessity would work as well.

And wavelength mentioned a very good point. People will quit if they feel the death was unfair.

I would do things a bit differently though.

I would make it so that the character loses 25% of their current level. This means that a death is a heavy penalty, but it doesn't make the death crippling.
So putting the level cap low and readjust the level growth may allow this system to work well without punishing players so much, right? Now, I feel bad to those who love to grind, which their hard-earned gains will be gone in a slight bad luck.  :guffaw:

Also I'll note the 'reliable gains' feat, which not all the stat gains are lost upon dying, and will work wonder if combined with gradually growth recover. I see this as a temporary penalty instead of a punishment...

In this case, it must have a temporary variable to store the degree of penalty and recovery rate, since I designed the level of monsters to be fixed and based from the level of dungeons.
 

gokuby

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Actually my MV game has a similar mechanic:

If a character dies, you have 3 turns to revive him, after that he is removed from the party, but if you are able to kill the enemie in these 3 turns, he is revived with 1 HP after battle.

Of cause you can revive them in battle as well, revive items are very hard to get and revive spells have certain conditions (e.g. the healing spells of my cleric cost tp, and the revive spell has a tp cost of 50 -->Decision: Do I heal a character and therefore risk having no revive the following turn)

A "removed" character can be revived at a certain location in the game consuming a valuable item, his level is set to level 1.

You will find more allies as the game progresses, if no one dies, you can have 14 members right now.

To remove the possilility of having only 2-3 chars left and therefore practically losing the game, the player can hire sellswords as intermittently replacement.

The overall difficulty is cruel, mistakes (especially when battling bosses) get punished hard!

Don't know if many will like this kind of style, but I love these kind of hard games, of cause crits for enemies are removed, so there is almost no unfortunate accident(exepct the ~20% variance)
 

Mouser

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This is the fundamental problem with systems like this: "Punishment" modifies behavior (ask any parent ;p)

Once the penalty for dying becomes steep enough, players simply will not go into risky situations, which makes for very boring gameplay.

You can see this in some MMO's - particularly older ones. It can work there since players have a long time frame to work with and other people playing with them. "Rogue-likes" are another special situation. For a single player RPG, the cons more than outweigh the pros IMHO.

The best mechanic I've ever seen done to handle player death without causing the player to reload last save is Planescape: Torment. "Death" brought you back to the starting location, and you had a chance of unlocking memories each time you died, making it a potentially positive experience.
 

gokuby

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To prevent boring gameplay, one should just balance that factor out, like in my example:

"the healing spells of my cleric cost tp, and the revive spell has a tp cost of 50 -->Decision: Do I heal a character and therefore risk having no revive the following turn"
Either I heal, and risk that someone might get killed by a strong attack, cause I don't know the attack pattern of the enemie yet, OR I don't heal, the injured character will die for sure, next turn I will revive him, but then my revive is on cooldown.

Both decisions are quite risky.

Also, thanks to more characters avaible one death isn't going to do much, at first I haven't even implemented the "revive at level 1"-feature.

You "just" have to switch your team combination around a little.

Lets say your cleric died, you have 2 more "cleric-like" classes, than you want to avoid their death more then the one of your tank.
 

Kes

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That suggestion only works if you've got a large reserve party who, by one means or another, you have got up to the same sort of level as the active party.  Otherwise, I don't see how this would answer my query about what happens when you have a weak party because of the reset mechanism, then because you're weak, the enemy succeeds in killing another actor, now with 2 weak actors the party is in serious trouble and on a downward spiral which they cannot get out of, leading to an inability to progress the game.
 

bgillisp

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That suggestion only works if you've got a large reserve party who, by one means or another, you have got up to the same sort of level as the active party.  Otherwise, I don't see how this would answer my query about what happens when you have a weak party because of the reset mechanism, then because you're weak, the enemy succeeds in killing another actor, now with 2 weak actors the party is in serious trouble and on a downward spiral which they cannot get out of, leading to an inability to progress the game.
This. This is what I didn't like about Final Fantasy Tactics. If my level 53 mage died on me, the only one I had available to replace them with was a level 1 character that I could recruit in town, which was then going to die quickly, and before I knew it I was on a downhill spiral of doom as my party of level 1 recruits had 0 chance to win the fights I was now getting in the game.
 

Frozen_Phoenix

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Players will save scum to avoid it (unless you prevent saving). Personally, I think it would be an unfun feature.
 
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M.I.A.

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I'm for it.

In my largest/favorite project, max level is 10.

Levels in my game don't determine stat increases or when skills are obtained.

Each Actor has a "signature" skill (that can be customized extensively (dmg boost, add state, alter targeting, etc [it's a ton of Eventing/Databasing, LOL]).

Each time they use this skill, it decreases their Level by 1. So if they don't use the skill, they can save them and use them up to 10 times in a battle (but there's a cool down between uses)... so, KnockOut = decrease to Level 1?.. Heck's yes. I'm all for it. In fact, I might adopt this mechanic to add challenge to my battles. Thanks!!
 

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